Meet the artist

Soloist highlight: Soprano Anna Fredericka Popova

An interview with soprano Anna Fredericka Popova, who appears next week with the Dallas Bach Society Wednesday, 9 December at the Meyerson. And don’t miss the 19 December German Baroque Christmas concert, also with soloist Popova!

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Thank you for speaking with us!

Can you tell me about your educational and professional background? Who was an important influence in your musical career?

My musical education began in my Mother’s womb. That sounds a bit weird, I know… but there is more and more research proving how much more children develop in the womb than we previously thought and that they gain quite a keen understanding about the world they are about to enter and the life they will lead. My beautiful, Dramatic Soprano Mother and Teacher received rave reviews for her emotional, electrifying and vivid depiction of Mimi in La Boheme that year and I was lucky enough to gain a true insider’s experience. Her performance was so intense and real that after a show on this tour, the conductor BURST into her dressing room with tears streaming down his face yelling “I hate you! NO ONE MAKES ME CRY!!!” At the time it was startling, of course, but what a compliment!! This was the beginning of my love affair with music and my first lesson as her student.. and what a fabulous journey lay ahead!
On my musical path I have had wonderful Teachers and Mentors. Though my early years were in Germany with Mom as she was singing, my formative years were spent in the heart of Southwest Louisiana in Lake Charles and DeRidder. I was surrounded by a rich, artistic culture and sang an immense variety of music like zydeco, blues, jazz, country, opera, lieder, folk, etc etc etc. My Family was definitely an influence, too. One of ten farm kids, my Mother grew up playing sax and singing with her siblings (though she was the only one brave enough to pursue it as a career!). And we still get together at the holidays and rambunctiously sing carols, country songs, hymns and more! Early Teachers like Cora McMillen and Kathy Comish saw my potential right when I moved to the US as an awkward little German girl and urged me to audition for national and local children’s choirs. There I learned the bliss and sensitivity of quality choral singing. Then Pam Gabriel LeBlanc continued that journey in my middle school years as I began doing Solo & Ensemble and learning roles in her musical theater productions – the first of which was a fabulous Spanish character named Senorita Juanita Fandango! Somehow it now makes sense that I sing and love Spanish Baroque music – haha! It was at this point that I also met Betty Ladas, a spunky southern song writer whose new musical “Chokin’ Out The Kudzu” was performed in Nashville last year by our incredible cast. She and Billie Columbaro, former judge and current acting professor in NYC,  were not only advocates but practically second mothers to me. Their vigor for life, pursuit of their dreams and downright sassy independence were an inspiration to me as a teenager and young performer. As I moved into a crazy high school career attending three schools in four years, Chris Miller was a huge influence. His choirs earned top scores at every level of competition and our 1st and 2nd chairs at District were nearly always that at All State, too.  It was such a blessing to be surrounded by passion, strong work ethic and nerdy, musical fun! And it was in his “Louisiana style” Show Choir (not like ours here in Texas with jazz hands and costumes, but more of a versatile rock n roll band in cool street clothes with six singers from his varsity choir) that I had the opportunity to stretch my wings performing pop, rock, jazz, blues and killer, a cappella BoyzIIMen type arrangements with these talented musicians. I got to Dallas by auditioning for the Arts Magnet on a whim while visiting. It was a long shot but I got in from out of state and Mom and I moved here as fast as we could!  My piano teacher, Gabriel Sanchez, saved my sanity that year.  His incredible mind and superb teaching kept me focused on my passion for music during a tough transition.
Soon after that I had the privilege of being under the direction of Brian Bentley and Constantina Tsolainou (who I actually met my freshman year in Louisiana All State years before!).  Brian and I were at Cathedral Guadalupe for 12 years together and I am eternally grateful for his beautiful heart and consummate musicianship. He shifted my understanding and love of the Catholic Liturgy and elevated the Cathedral Chorale to a place of high prayer and worship that was truly transforming for us and the congregation. His care of the powerful messages we are charged to convey as singers changed my perspective forever and has made me a more attentive and clear performer. My years with Constantina and the Arts District Chorale have been unforgettable and she is likely the most brilliant choral director I have ever had the honor to create with. What she pulls from us with her exuberant and positive spirit and incredible mind is like nothing I’ve ever witnessed or experienced.
My entry into early music came soon after that in my early twenties.  I had not sung much of it in the past but the style greatly intrigued me and I’ve been hooked ever since!  Grover Wilkins 3d has been an amazing catalyst for growth and new adventure in my career the last several years and was my first experience working with a professional Baroque ensemble.  He took a chance and hired me as a fast substitute to sing the role of Diana in a reading of a zarzuela that had not been performed since the 1700’s called “Las Nuevas Armas de Amor.” I had less than 2 weeks with the music(!), had not sung the style or in Castilian Spanish before and was scared out of my mind!  But with grit, a few tears and kind help from my lovely Mexican soprano counterparts, I learned it and later made my opera debut as “Jupiter” in the very same zarzuela when Grover’s dream of a fully fledged production came to fruition in 2013. Since then we’ve traveled the world together performing this rarely heard and gorgeous Spanish music. We will put on another such grand production by Nebra called “Iphigenia en Tracia” that opens Valentine’s Day 2016 in which I will portray Iphigenia. Tracye Bingham has been a strong Mentor and the best Sales Director I’ve ever worked with. Over the last 3 years she has helped develop my business mind and given me understanding of strength, stamina and leadership that has taken my corporate and musical careers to new heights. To watch her inspire our Team and lead us with such conviction and positive, passionate care has changed me forever and I’m so grateful for her presence in my life. And lastly, there is Jim Richman. What a mensch!  He brought me in to sing Maddalena in a “pre-Messiah” Handel work called “La Resurrezione” and since then his support and genuine kindness have been invaluable to me professionally and personally. It is a joy to work with him and the Dallas Bach Society and I look forward to many more wonderful years performing these great works!
What do you do to prepare for 3 hour concerts?
Oh, my…. so much! Preparation is constant. Everything from exercising my body to meditating and quieting my mind, from detailed coaching of the music to practicing phrasing on breaks in the storage closet at my corporate Sales job and so, so much more! The stamina is definitely a factor and is necessary to build up.  To be “on” constantly but to be sitting for 45 minutes at a time between pieces (like I do in Messiah as the other glorious soloists sing) is a very interesting thing to manage.  To keep the body awake and actively ready to sing while being still and poised is nearly a magic trick! haha! But I think the most interesting part of it all is preparing to be vulnerable, let go and just sing! That is the courageous part of performing people may not think about when enjoying a performance.  To open up a heart filled to the brim and shower the audience with love and the intense energy of these incredible works is just as exhilarating as it is exhausting. It is something I think about every time I perform. More recent research now shows how much energy we expend as singers and it’s equivalent to what a highly ranked NFL football player uses up.  Think about that… a top athlete. Most people likely don’t realize that this is the preparation we do as Artists. And though trying at times, part of what keeps us going, energized and ready to perform is you.  You, the audience, bring us such life and joy.. and to share our Art with you is a gift to us as much as it is a gift we offer you.
What about early music appeals to you as a musician?
It is so intricate and delightfully nerdy!  I mean that in the most wonderful way and think the excitement of creating ornaments and learning the details of the style are definitely part of what keeps me interested. The beautifully mellowed sound of period instruments and intimacy of a smaller ensemble and venue is also appealing. The most incredible experience I’ve had with early music was in Bolivia as a part of the International Renaissance and Baroque Festival with the Orchestra of New Spain.  Grover chose a glorious mass for us to perform – the manuscript of which was actually found in the walls of the mission church we performed it in. So here we are, 300 years later, taking this work back to it’s birthplace.  The most amazing part was that the mission churches were entirely made of wood – so the mellowed sounds of our period instruments spiraled and bounced around the warm tones of the dark wood columns and walls. It was pure magic! And the enormity of it all was not lost on us.  In joyful tears with a painfully full heart we were rushed like rock stars by the Bolivians who deeply appreciated this great work’s homecoming and our passionate performance honoring that moment.
Have you sung in the Meyerson as a soloist?
Yes.  My first time singing in the Meyerson was during my year at the Arts Magnet here in Dallas. I sang “Glitter and Be Gay” and said then and there “I’ll be back, Meyerson… give me some time.” And 2 years ago I got that opportunity when Jim Richman hired me as his Messiah soloist. That performance was actually my first Messiah solo experience and was so unbelievable!! I still think about it. To share the stage with such high caliber musicians and set fire to page after page of such a stunning work was almost too much! And we had a full house that year!! When the audience literally exploded with applause it was as intoxicating as it was humbling. I will admit that I burst into tears of gratitude for having experienced such effusive appreciation and for being given the opportunity to be there. I’m so excited to do it again this year!
What repertoire do you prefer to sing? What is it about it that transfixes you?
Oh, man… I prefer EVERYTHING! If I were to label myself as a singer it would be a “Studier of Styles” with an aching desire to learn them all.  Whether it’s the smoky, warm quality of blues or the crystal clear tones of Baroque, I want it… and I want to do it all as if it’s the only thing I sing. What I mean by that is if I’m singing jazz I want to sound and mimic the tones and qualities of a true jazz singer.  If I’m singing country or an Irish folk song I want you to believe me to the core! Part of my given gift and something I’ve nurtured deeply is an extreme joy of vocal versatility. I love to see what my instrument can do and more importantly how it can connect with you, our audience.  That’s the point, really – finding all the ways to connect. Whether it’s a High Mass at the Cathedral or 90’s R&B at The Library in the Melrose Hotel, I want to communicate with people in a way they understand.  It’s on us, the communicators, to be sure we’re understood. And I want to speak as many “vocal languages” before I leave this world as possible!
Any special recordings to enjoy of Handel?
So many good ones out there! But lately I listen over and over to the recording we made last year in New York with the late John Scott, the St.Thomas 5th Ave Men & Boys Choir and the Concert Royale.  WHAT an amazing concert!! To hear the young men (especially the boy sopranos!) sing those choruses is just… wow. If you ever get the opportunity to go enjoy a concert there, take it! You won’t regret it.
What should audiences look out for in this production?
Be ready to watch us set FIRE to the stage!!! (figuratively) And for you to leave uplifted and ready for Christmas!! This will be like no other Messiah you’ve experienced! Be ready for a high dose of Artistry from this ensemble.  Side effects may include feeling: pure joy, overwhelmingly beautiful sorrow, fiery passion, deep darkness, soaring spirits, triumphant certainty and utter bliss. I hope you enjoy it and can’t wait to see you there!
Meet the artist

Soloist highlight: tenor Derek Chester

An interview with tenor Derek Chester, who will appear with the Dallas Bach Society Wednesday, 9 December at the Meyerson.

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Thank you for agreeing to speak about yourself your your role as soloist with the Dallas Bach Society during our performance of Handel’s Messiah. Can you tell me about your educational and professional background? Who was an important influence in your musical career?

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia where he studied with Gregory Broughton and my Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance of Oratorio, Early Music, Song, and Chamber Music on full scholarship from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music as a student of tenor James Taylor. As a Fulbright Scholar, I was fortunate enough to spend a year in Germany working as a freelance musician and furthering his training with acclaimed German tenor Christoph Prégardien and conductor Helmuth Rilling.  I completed my Doctorate in Musical Arts in Voice Performance specializing in Opera Studies from the University of North Texas studying under Jennifer Lane I wrote my dissertation on the early education and juvenilia vocal works of American composer Samuel Barber.  All of my teachers and conductors were extremely important influences in my life.  To name a few, the voice teachers listed above, conductors Simon Carrington and Yale, Mitos Andaya and Allen Crowell at UGA, Jeffrey Thomas of the American Bach Soloists, and Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival and Bach Academy Stuttgart.

What do you do to prepare for 3 hour concerts?

Nap, over-hydrate (8 hours in advance), and stuff my pockets full of lozenges to keep from drying out.

What about early music appeals to you as a musician?

I’ve always gravitated toward early music.  I’ve been a Bach fan for as along as I can remember.  I fell in love with his counterpoint and a very early age listening to cassettes my brother would bring home from the thrift store.  I would lay in bed listening to a Bach fugue, picking out one line and singing it in my mind.  Then I would rewind the tape and do it again with a different line.  In my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to have teachers that realized I had a real penchant for performing this type of music and guided me in that direction.

Have you sung in the Meyerson as a soloist?
This will be my fourth time on the Meyerson stage as a soloist.  It’s one of my favorite concert halls in the world.

What repertoire do you prefer to sing? What is it about it that 
transfixes you?

Early 17th century rep one-on-a-part.  The madrigals are so gratifying–especially Monteverdi’s. There is something so tremendous about his treatment of the non-chord-tone, whether it is the appoggiatura gesture, or the passing tone.

I am also finding myself more and more drawn to French repertoire these days.  I love the melodies of the 19th and 20th century.  There is a certain elegance and understated quality to this rep that really grips me.

Any special recordings to enjoy of Handel?

Enjoying Renee Jacobs recording of Rinaldo right now.  Nothing at all for the tenor… but those Almirena arias are spectacular.

What should audiences look out for in this production?

It is a real treat to perform this piece with this ensemble.  The textures are always crystal clear and the tempi and pacing is ideal.  It’s clear to me after performing this work several times with James Richman that he profoundly understands this work.  Handel was a fantastic dramatist, and there is a certain dramatic unfolding to his Messiah that Richman just naturally allows to happen.  It just feels right.

Thanks for your time!

Please visit derekchester.com for more information on Mr. Chester and follow him on Facebook.

Meet the artist

Meet our splendid Messiah soloists

We’d like you to meet our splendid soloists for the Meyerson performance of Handel’s Messiah on 9 December:

Soprano Anna Fredericka Popova is the daughter of Dramatic Soprano and Teacher, Charlotte Ellsaesser. Ms. Popova is a leading soloist with ensembles including the Dallas Bach Society, the Orchestra of New Spain, St. Thomas 5th Ave, the Arts District Chorale and many more. Last December she made her New York debut singing Messiah with the St. Thomas Men & Boys Choir and the Concert Royal as well as her Nashville debut as Stella in the brand new musical Chokin’ Out The Kudzu. Former credits include Jupiter in the New World Premier of baroque opera Las Nuevas Armas de Amor with the Orchestra of New Spain which was featured in Early Music America Magazine and Maddalena in Handel’s La Resurrezzione with the Dallas Bach Society. Ms. Popova has appeared on concert stages around the world – most notably the Cervantino International Baroque Music Festival in Mexico and the International Renaissance and Baroque Music Festival in Bolivia.

Curtis Streetman, bass, has sung the major bass roles in Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro), La Boheme (Colline), Don Giovanni (Leporello), Rigoletto (Sparafucile) as well as leads in Verdi, Handel, and Rossini operas. Recent operatic performances include appearances at The Salzburg Festival, as well as opera houses in Naples, Vienna, Bilbao, Dortmund, and Victoria, B.C. Other recent operatic debuts include productions in Geneva, Basel, and at the Theatre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Ravinia, The Hong Kong Arts Festival, and The San Juan Arts Festival. Mr. Streetman was featured in a Canadian tour of Bach’s St. John Passion, with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roi. He made his Kennedy Center debut with The National Symphony in performance of Handel’s Messiah. Mr. Streetman performed the role of Christus in Sir Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed fully staged production of The Saint Matthew Passion, produced by The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and performed the title role in Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys with The American Symphony Orchestra, which marked his Lincoln Center debut. A gifted comedic actor, Mr. Streetman’s portrayal of Bottom for The Princeton Festival’s production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been universally heralded by the press as a comedic tour-de-force.

Praised by the New York Times for his “beautifully shaped and carefully nuanced singing,” tenor Derek Chester is steadily making a name for himself in the world of classical music. Mr. Chester received his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia where he studied with Gregory Broughton. Though his career in concentrated primarily in concert work, Derek Chester holds his doctoral degree in opera studies has excelled in opera and musical theatre roles spanning nearly five centuries of repertoire. His theater and opera credits include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Nemorino in L’Elixir d’Amore, Peter Quint in Turn of the Screw, Oronte in Alcina, Simon Stimson in Our Town, Acis and Damon in Acis and Galatea, and Abel/Japheth in Children of Eden. Dr. Chester is Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Northern Colorado. He is a featured soloist at the Staunton Music Festival and the Colorado Bach Festival. He continues his worldwide career as a sought after interpreter of concert and recital repertoire.

Nicholas Garza, countertenor, studied at University of Texas at Arlington as a Vocal Performance major with Jing Ling-Tam and David Grogan. Originally from Harlingen, Texas, Nicholas has performed with Mountainside Baroque in Maryland as the Tenor soloist for the Telemann oratorio Der Tod Jesu and also was alto soloist for the Big Moose Bach Festival in New Hampshire. He worked with noted singer and conductor Simon Carrington as a singing fellow at the 2011 and 2012 Norfolk Chamber Music Festival of Yale University. He performs with many professional groups around the Metroplex including the Dallas Bach Society, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Orchestra of New Spain, the Fort Worth Opera Chorus and Christ the King Catholic Church. He has been called a “stand-out soloist” by the Dallas Morning News and has been hailed for his “appealing tenor, sinewy in the lower register, sweetly soft-edged on high.”

Meet the artist

Arts+Culture interviews Catherine Turocy, dance consultant with Dallas Bach Society

There are two opportunities to experience the wonder of Catherine Turocys New York Baroque Dance Company, one of the leading historical dance troupes in the nation: first at Dallas Bach Society‘s A Tale of Two Cities on Nov. 14 at SMU Meadow School of the Arts, Caruth Auditorium, then at Ars Lyricas Homage to the Sun King, Nov. 20 at Hobby Center.  A + C Editor in Chief  Nancy Wozny visited with Turocy about the upcoming shows.

If audiences are new to New York Baroque Dance Company, what do they need to know about the troupe?

Our mission is to promote public knowledge on 17th and 18th century dance, in all aspects of the art, through concerts, fully staged opera and ballet productions, lectures, workshops, classes and video and film productions. We hope to mine the treasures of the past to create a richer future by bringing history to life in innovative productions. We participate in street parades, costume balls, site specific events on battlefields as well as the more formal venues of European opera houses and concert halls. An important part of our work is sharing our passion with the general public. Every first Saturday of the month we offer a class to the general public at Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY. Maintaining an online vimeo site with documentation of our workshops exploring seminal choreographies, as well as a blog on our website, both free and accessible to the public, helps us to reach thousands of people.

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Since Baroque dance predates ballet as we know it, I imagine that we will recognize some of the movements. But what will be different in terms of port de bras and the steps?

The port de bras tends to be lower with more articulation in the hands and fingers. For story telling, we use a gestural system from the art of declamation refined in the 18th century. The dance steps are actually quite similar to ballet steps, but our phrasing and meaning have shifted over the centuries. Also, no point shoes and no aerial lifts with the men and women.

New York Baroque Dance Company. Photos courtesy of NYBDC.

NYBDC dancer Caroline Copeland. Photo by Julie Lemberger.

I always enjoy when NYBDC performs with  Ars Lyrica. What will you be doing during the Homage to the Sun King  program?

Les Arts Florissants by Marc Antoine Charpentier is an Idylle en Musique composed in 1685 and is a perfect choice to honor the 300th   anniversary of the death of Louis XIV, the Sun King. At that time, Jean Baptiste Lully held the Royal Patent for opera, and no one else was allowed to compose a full opera. Thus, smaller categories of “opera-like” works came into creation to circumvent this law. Les Arts Florissants is cleverly constructed for a vocal ensemble of seven, which includes the soloists and chorus parts for all roles. This work pits Discord against Peace and is written in honor of Louis XIV. Charpentier was experienced in writing this genre of work from his other commissions with the Jesuit College, Louis le Grand, and in some ways, one might view Les Arts Florissants as sharing more in common with the Jesuit presentations than court and theater entertainments.

Give us a flash history of Louis XIV during this time.

Historically, Louis XIV was at the height of his power in 1685. The Truce of Ratisbon (August, 1684) concluded the War of the Reunions and allowed France to retain Strasbourg and Luxembourg. The Doge of Genoa traveled to Versailles and made his apologies and peace to Louis XIV, but only after having his city bombarded by the French in 1685 from the sea as punishment for having supported the Spanish. One might consider these events as the wars referenced in the sung text. Meanwhile, work on the gardens of Versailles, with its beautiful fountains, were well underway and are also referred to in the text of Les Arts Florissants. The Truce of Ratisbon could very well be an inspiration for the sung poetry of Peace.

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NYBDC performs with Ars Lyrica. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

How will you merge the singers and dancers?

In our semi-staged production, the seven singers will play all the characters of Discord, Peace and the Arts as they had in Charpentier’s time. Dance as an art form is not sung, but implied by the action in the text and will be realized by four members of The New York Baroque Dance Company in period style choreography and mime after descriptions of the Jesuit staged productions. The singing roles are La Musique, L’Architecture, La Poesie, La Peintre, La Discorde and La Paix. If the Arts are flourishing at the court of Louis XIV, how can they not have dance? I choose to see La Danse as existing in all the dance music and in our four dancers as an element which is so natural to life it need not be named.  As the original production was performed under the patronage of the Duchesse de Guise, the female roles will be danced by women. (Otherwise, they would most likely have been done by men at the Jesuit College, but there are always exceptions.) The masks of the dancers were a convention of the time.

It must be very rewarding to collaborate with your husband, James Richman, artistic director of the Dallas Bach Society. Tell us about your collaboration in the November program.

Dallas offers the opportunity to try things we cannot do in other places. For example, this week I am working with Contemporary Ballet Dallas (CBD) and choreographer/director Valerie Shelton Tabor (a former student of mine from SMU in 1995-6 who also danced with our company). I am a consultant to her new choreography commissioned by Dallas Bach, who are also the producers. We are working closely together on fashioning a contemporary work inspired by 18th century European and Afro/Caribbean dance forms, which are used as a springboard to tell the story of the Chevalier de Saint George.

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NYBDC dancers Alan Jones and Gregory Youdan. Photo courtesy Goettingen Handel Festival.

In our Nov. 14 concert with Dallas Bach Society, four dancers of the CBD will join the NYBDC in the final contredanse of the evening, which features ball dances and music of the salons in London and Paris. The NYBDC will be performing published dance notations from the early 18th century, so this is a chance for the audience to “know the score” so to speak. Whereas in works like Les Arts Florissants, there are no published dances from the period for Charpentier’s music. In which case, the dances are created by a choreographer conversant in the style used at the time.

I am interested in how you re-imagine Baroque dance.  Obviously, you are an expert, and the  person to do this, but give us a glimpse of your process.

The process is exactly that, a process which is ongoing. Currently, I am interested in the reflection of the golden nautilus as embodied by the dance in both choreography and in the actual sculpting shapes of the dance positions and movement. Why doesn’t the dance have the same flow of movement as inferred by the paintings and sculpture?  If we use the same body iconography, which was formed through the Baroque mind pondering principles of science, philosophy, mysticism and cosmology, will this give both the dancer and choreographer today more insight into the style and performing practices of the 17th and 18th  centuries?  How will that affect what the audience experiences?

—NANCY WOZNY

Meet the artist

Interview with James Richman, Artistic Director about the House Concert Series

 

Dallas Bach Society spoke with Artistic Director James Richman.

 

DBS: For years, house concerts have been an integral part of Dallas Bach Society’s season. What’s so special about them, James?

 J.R.: Well, you get to be really close to the musicians and have the unique opportunity to experience the music in a setting that is very similar to when the pieces were originally performed. In the Baroque period a small audience of connoisseurs could experience the artistry of master musicians in a private setting.

DBS: Neat. I know that I’m not only speaking for myself..I love it when I can get up close and personal with the performers and gain some insight into the music and the instruments that I might have missed in a more formal recital setting.

J.R.: Yes, and the intimate nature of our featured solo instrument in October makes it especially perfect for enjoyment at a house concert.

DBS: What are we going to hear at the first house concerts on Friday, Oct.19, in Flower Mound, and Saturday, Oct. 20, in Dallas?

 J.R.: We welcome Brent Wissick, virtuoso extraordinaire of the viola da gamba, for a program of the complete sonatas for gamba and obligato harpsichord by J.S. Bach. Maestro Wissick is a Distinguished Professor of Music at UNC Chapel Hill and served for many years as President of the American Viola da Gamba Society.

DBS: Oh, I remember him from about a year ago. He is an amazing talent.

 J.R.: Yes, he is. Brent has been featured with the Dallas Bach Society for several seasons. He has performed with essentially all of the important early music ensembles in North America as well as many in Europe.

DBS: One word about viola versus viola da gamba. They are not the same, are they? It’s confusing to some folks.

 J.R.: Well, the viola is the second smallest instrument of the string family as we know it today, whereas the viola da gamba belongs to the viol family that was prevalent during the Renaissance and the Baroque era.  The viola da gamba was a very important solo instrument in the Baroque period. The viola never really achieved such fame. The viola da gamba is held between the player’s legs much like a cello, only is has a much mellower sound and 6 strings as opposed to 4 on the viola and cello.

DBS: Thank you very much, James. We look forward to listening to you and Brent perform Bach’s sonatas for gamba at the house concerts this October.

Brent Wissick - World renowned virtuso of the viola da gamba
Brent Wissick – World renowned virtuso of the viola da gamba

The first house concert is fast approaching on Friday, October 19th and will be hosted by DBS’s very own secretary, Kyle Mistrot, and  Dr. Michael Mathews at their amazing “Casa M” in Flower Mound.  All who attended the house concert there last April knows that it is well worth the trip just to see the house itself.

The second house concert is on Saturday, October 20th and is being hosted by one of our esteemed patrons and Board members, in a beautiful, central location in Dallas. We are indeed fortunate to have such involved and dedicated patrons and board members at Dallas Bach Society.

 

Please join us for a truly memorable evening!